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Chapter 14 - ‘Now Good or Bad, ’tis but the Chance of War’

Counter-Punching against Appeasement

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2023

Amy Lidster
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
Sonia Massai
Affiliation:
King's College London
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Summary

This essay focuses on the debate over Chamberlain’s attempts at ‘appeasement’ during his negotiations with the presidents of Germany, Italy, and Czechoslovakia, who would soon become the central European Axis powers in the Second World War. It specifically looks at two intertwined public protests in 1938 against Chamberlain’s plans to cede the German-speaking regions of Austria to Hitler, in exchange for Hitler not declaring all-out war in Europe. In addition to analysing Troilus and Cressida, directed by Michael Macowan in modern-day battle dress at the Westminster Theatre in London, this essay turns not only to Punch magazine’s review of the play in their October 1938 issue, but also to the other numerous cartoons, ironic poems, and satiric song lyrics that filled that issue, all clearly condemning Chamberlain’s reluctance, often called cowardice, to realize the consequences of agreeing to Hitler’s demands.

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Shakespeare at War
A Material History
, pp. 137 - 144
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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